Each year, my daughter's school runs what they call "Invest Fest" which is how they raise money for the school year. I will be donating this piece for the online auction, open to parents at the school. You can find the details here: https://app.bidcoz.com/scales
I was inspired to make this by Steve Carmichael over at The Carmichael Workshop. He is a very talented maker. You can check out his channel here:
Check out the video above!
I've always thought the sheet music from these old hymnals are works of art in themselves. I wanted to combine this with some old barnwood that I've had for years. The thought has been noodling around in my head for a while now, and I finally came up with a design I liked. You can purchase these on my Etsy store here:
I really enjoyed making my last video so I thought I would give it another whirl. While I was looking for music to use, I found this really great punk rock song by Punk Rock Opera. It's a grimey, rough, fast song that didn't make sense to use for that video. The problem was, I couldn't imagine what kind of video would make sense.
Click on the video above to hear my thought process, and see what I made. This is just a silly experiment, but I had a good time making it. I hope you enjoy!
I made a resolution this year, to give back to a community that has given much to me. Three years ago I had just moved back to the States and bought a house. I wanted to put up some crown molding, but had no idea on how to do it. I googled it, and stumbled into an online community within YouTube that taught me that and so much more. I was subscribing to dozens of channels and drinking up as much knowledge as I could. I had been bitten by the woodworking bug.
Fast-forward to the present, and I feel it is time to add my own contribution to this community. I've always been fascinated with creating art, and have now found a medium to express that desire. This piece is one that I have refined over the past two years. The early prototypes are gathering dust in my shop, some have been sold and are hanging in other peoples houses, even modified one to the flag of city of Chicago as a wedding gift.
Here is my entry to the collective knowledge of the internets.
This is actually a build that can be accomplished with just a few basic tools. You'll need a table saw or miter saw, and some sort of power sanding tool. For materials you'll need four 2x4's, about a quarter sheet of 1/4" plywood, and a couple cans of spray paint. I also used some scrap plywood I had from a disassembled failed project. Total cost is about $40-45.00. Less if you use recycled materials.
I suggest acquiring the 2x4's from a construction materials landfill. There is so much waste that goes into landfills that can be re-purposed into other things. Aside from some glue and nails, this piece can be made entirely from waste materials. You're looking for wood where the grain is more pronounced (fast-growth trees with wide spacing between the growth rings are best). You'll want the growth rings to look like a half-arc when you view the 2x4 from the end. A straight pattern does not look as nice, in my opinion.
Once you have your wood, cut them into manageable pieces. I think a table saw works best here due to speed. A miter saw would be a close second. I like for the cuts to be at different widths (between 1/2 inch and 1 inch) to add some depth to your piece. This depth gives the illusion of ripples, simulating the flag flying in the wind. You'll need to cut up two 2x4's, or about 200 pieces. If you have a drum sander, you can save a ton of time by cutting the wood into 4 different lengths (1/2", 5/8", 3/4", and 7/8"), and sending each "batch" through the drum sander at once.
Speaking of sanding, there are a number of things you are trying to accomplish here; get a smooth surface and remove any splinters, as well as "burning" the grain by holding the piece on the sander for a longer time. This will darken the grain, making it stand out more.
The next step is to paint the individual blocks. You'll want to be sure the sanded side is up, and hit all 5 exposed sides. Again, the goal here is to add depth, so you'll want to use two or three shades of red. Apply your base coat, then spray random bits of the lighter color and darker color. You're trying to get a little of each color on the blocks. 50% base, 25% darker, and 25% lighter. Do not paint any of the blocks white. Leave them natural.
The blue field also needs white stars. There are a number of ways to accomplish this. I like to use a die-cutter to cut out a stencil of the stars, but you could also print it out on a few sheets of paper, and cut them out with a razor blade/box cutter/x-acto knife.
You'll need a 1/4" piece of plywood, cut to 37.5" x 18.5". This will leave about a 1/2" overhang on all four sides. To begin the glue up, I prefer to do it in sections. The blue field, then the stripes below it, then the rest. You'll want to clamp your first piece down so you will have something to press the other pieces into, to avoid gaps.
I like to alternate the grain so you get one piece with the arc up, next with the arc down. I think adds to the feel of the flag blowing in the wind.
Another trick to making this strong is to glue the top and bottom rows to the row next to them. Get the glue only halfway up, you don't want any glue squeeze out here.
Once you have your pieces glued down, it is time to make the frame. You'll want the inner diameter of the frame to be 42.5" x 23.5". You'll need to cut out a rabbit on the short end of each board to hold the backing board in place.
I think mitered corners glued with a few brad nails (or screws from the top and bottom) add sufficient strength. The backing board will also be glued to the frame, further adding to the strength. The nails will hold it in place while the glue dries, or you can use a band clamp.
Before you glue the backer board(s) onto the frame, you'll want to paint them as well. Having the flag mounted to a floating frame like this adds great shadow lines, so repeating the colors from the flag here makes it feel like the frame is part of the art. Once painted, you can glue them to the frame.
To make the flag appear to "float", add four leftover blocks of identical width, or a smaller frame to the center of the backing board. Then glue the flag to these spacers.
And that is it. I wouldn't say any of this is technically hard, just repetitive. Not bad for less than $45 bucks and a day in the shop. If you make one of these, I'd love to see it! Tag me on Instagram (@StudioJLT) with a picture of your flag.
This piece came to fruition from Etsy - a customer contacted me about my skyline listing and wanted to combine two cities into one piece. The groom (her brother) was from Chicago, and the bride-to-be was from Bangkok. The challenge she gave me was to incorporate orange into the piece, as that was their wedding color. Orange is not a color that lends itself to typical wood colors; sorry Cleveland Browns, your team colors are terrible!
I chose poplar as you can find it with more white/green/black/purple colors rather than red and brown. It's really an underappreciated wood. I found three good boards after visiting three different shops that had the coloring I was looking for. You can see the top piece has a great knot and black/purple streaking, so I knew I wanted that to be my sky.
I probably spent more time worrying about how these three boards should line up than I did on any other aspect of this design. I tried to pay attention to the grain, and how each piece looks compared to the next. Once I finally got done putting that together, it was time to join the wood (used biscuits for this) and then glue up with all of my clamps. I need more clamps!
Next, it was on to the actual painting. I designed the Chicago skyline based on specific buildings that stand out. I printed out a very large picture of their skyline, and cut/pasted the buildings I wanted. I put tape over where the skyline would be, and traced out the buildings I wanted onto the tape. I then cut out the skyline by hand with a razor. I couldn't really do the same process with Bangkok as their buildings are curved. It's a real challenge to cut curved lines in wood. For this I used my die cast cutter with adhesive vinyl to cut out the bangkok skyline, as well as the font for the city names.
For paint, I used the ancient method of painting method known to some as "spray paint in an aerosol can." I wanted to add more depth to the piece than simply putting orange on there, so I added a gradient black at the base and a little white to highlight the tops of the buildings.
I did the same for the font:
Add a few coats of a satin polyurethane and I call it done! I believe this is my best piece to date (though I always think that!) Thanks for reading.
This room was designed for my son, who is due around Halloween. I'm just a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit, but I currently now live in Nashville. So I've got to work extra hard to indoctrinate my boy into the Red Wings.
I started by adding a ceiling fan to the room. And of course it had to get the red & white treatment. You can also see the tape for the pin stripping I added.
On one wall is all of the retired numbers that hang in the rafters at The Joe. I have one spot saved for WHEN they retire Sergei Fedorov's iconic #91. Below the numbers is the logo on 7 canvases. My daughter helped me paint this.
On the opposite wall is all of the Stanley cup banners. The Red Wings success over the years really made this take forever. #redwingproblems.
Lastly, I wanted to add a mural to the room, something to go over the crib. So I designed and used pastels to create the Octo-Goalie. Hope he isn't too scary for the little guy!
A customer of mine contacted me and asked if I could create a flag of this city of Chicago for her friends that are getting married. I didn't even know cities had flags, so after some quick googling, I found the design. This flag was more complicated than I originally had planned. I had first thought about inlaying the 4 stars, but that wasn't possible since I like each brick to be at different heights. A lesson I learned after three attempts. I learn a little slow sometimes.
I then decided on free-handing it. Protractors and rulers for the win! The other design decision I had to make was how to make the piece a little more visually appealing. The flag design is a little plain, so I decided on keeping the original pine color as the white. I burned the grain by over-sanding the bricks which made it really pop.
Overall, I am very happy with the outcome. I've never been happy with how white looks on pine, so I'll probably use this method on future projects that call for white on this piece. After three attempts at making this piece, I hope the couple likes it.
My daughter has been asking to do a painting together for a while now, so I though this would be a great opportunity to "double-dip" and also make a Valentine's Day present for my wife at the same time. Don't judge. Anyway, the two of us hid away in my office on a super-secret mission that we were sure to NOT tell my wife about. I think she was on to us, but that's OK.
Daphne wants to be an artist when she grows up, so I took this opportunity to teach her the very little I know on the subject. Took about 19 seconds. We used daddy's "fancy paints and brushes" so she was super excited. I tried to teach her how to use color and how light reflects on different surfaces. I think she already surpassed her old man on the first lesson - I think hers turned out better than mine!
Next stop was out to the shop to make the frames. We passed it off as me showing her my new tools. Again, I don't think wifie bought it. She may have been on to us. But Daphne helped measure the wood and asked if I knew what I was doing 91 times. The frames were simply cut from 2x4's.
After about a month of planning and a long enough break over Christmas, I finally knocked out the table saw sled I've had on my list for a while. I saw this video on YouTube and knew then that I had to built it. It was a quite challenging build as I've only been woodworking for 6 months or so. I learned a lot of techniques that I can use in the future. I was also able to get the sled more accurate than I ever though possible. I think it was just dumb luck (or 14 tries) but I managed to get it to .0004 accuracy following Nick Ferry's simple 5-cut directions on the link above. Couldn't be happier!
This project was a request from a repeat customer. Her daughter is getting married in a few weeks and she wanted to do something special for her. She had seen a few different takes on a shadowbox in which you would sign little hearts and drop them into it. This serves as the wedding guest book. After the wedding you can hang it and you will always have a piece of art that you can remember your big day.
So we looked around online and found a few different elements she liked from different pictures. We took those and incorporated them into her theme of a rustic wedding. The wood I used on this piece is from an old house that was getting torn down. I wanted to leave the rough edges on the sides, top, and bottom giving this piece that rustic vibe. It took some serious application of poly to harden the wood so it wouldn't decay any further.
The last step was to create the heart in the middle. Her colors for the wedding was eggplant and forest green, and I wanted to use the eggplant color into these pieces. Distressing it with a white paint underlay kept the rustic feeling. Let me know what you think of it in the comments section!
I've seen a lot of flags created using pallet wood or old barn wood. Maybe I'm just a little old-fashioned, but most of them don't have the 13 stripes and 50 stars. I wanted to make a flag, but I wanted it to be accurate. I also didn't want just a simple flag - I could just buy one of those. So this piece was designed to simulate the flag flapping in the wind. I used some scrap 2x4's and aligned the grain to look like it is flowing in the wind. The red and blue grains show up well here, but the white didn't come through as well in the photo. Looks great in person though.
I also varied the depth of each piece of wood and aligned it so you can get the effect of the flag rippling in the air. So you've got both the ripple in the depth of the wood and the ripple by the grain patterns.
If I make another one of these, I'll be more selective in the wood I choose. Didn't really like the way one board came out - you can see the top left in the blue the grain pattern wasn't as pretty. Oh well. Every artist I've ever met isn't 100% happy with their work.
All-in-all was quite happy with the way it's turned out.
When we moved into our new house about a year and a half ago, we had some setup to do as most people do. But in our last house, my daughter had flowers and butterflies painted in her room. She wanted her own room painted, and that led to the Princess Bedroom. The next order of business (as far as she was concerned) was doing the same thing for her yet-to-be-born sister. So I tasked her with coming up with the theme for the new room. She thought about ballerinas, more princesses, and finally settled on bugs.
So I sought some inspiration online for what kind of bugs would look cute in a little girls room, and broke out my pastels. All of these are done with pastels straight on the wall. But I wasn't done yet. My oldest needed to contribute to the room since this was her idea. So the last picture in the above slideshow is her caterpillar. She drew and colored it all herself. Not too bad for a four year old!
I've got a few birthdays coming up for my girls this summer, and I've always liked those big 6' rulers that seem to be all over Pinterest (where you can follow my board - just search for studiojlt) but they all seemed a bit...cheap. Painted numbers and tick marks. I thought I could do better than that, so here it is. I used my Dremel for the tick marks, and they were nice and even due to a nice little spacer jig that I put together. I bought the number hardware from Lowes - these are actually house numbers I used. I thought the brushed nickel would stand out well against the dark stain.
This was a fun project that I took on a while back, with quite the back story. My wife's sister was playing around on Google Maps one day with the street level view, and came across this old barn on her property. It had been blown away by the Super Tuesday Tornado that swept through Primm Springs, TN on Feb. 5, 2008. If a tornado gets a name and a wiki page, then you know it was a big one.
No one had a picture of this barn, but it was important to her and her in-laws as it was built by Elton Turman, her husbands great grandfather, and grandfather Lester Turman in 1945 after Lester returned home from WWII. Lester went to trade school to be a carpenter. His first project completed was the barn. All of the wood used was cut from the farm. Measurements 50 x 60 feet had a great big loft that would hold 3000 square bales of hay. The lower level of the barn had a tack room, 5 stalls and one manger. They hung tobacco, run cattle/mules, stored hay.
So she asked me to help memorialize the barn in a work piece, and I was more than happy to do so. I used some old barn wood that I had been saving (not from this barn unfortunately, that was all scattered and not recovered). I stained it a nice dark color and using the picture she found in Google, drew out the outline and carved away skyline and driveway. I then used my scroll saw to cut out the trees and half-inlay them into the piece.
I have been somewhat, mildly, slightly obsessed with Pinterest (you can follow my board -StudioJLT if you're so inclined). There are tons of boards that I've found inspiring. This one was from lakegirlpaints.blogspot.com. Very cool blog to check out. Anyway, I saw this piece and thought I could make it. I've been wanting to break out of the brown in our house - the entire house was painted masking tape brown when we bought it. I've slowly (too slowly maybe) been trying to add some color back into my life. I am not big on typography in my pieces, so I wanted to X that from the piece I saw. This is above my TV right now, still deciding on where it should live.
One of the first things I had to do once we bought our house was to give my daughter a bedroom painted and designed exactly as she wanted. She went to her Nana's house for the weekend and I got to work. She wanted a princess bedroom in all pink and purple - her favorite colors. The room gets enough light that this wasn't overpowering. I later added all white furniture to lessen the impact of such a colorful room.
I started by drawing each princess and creating a stencil from it. I probably could have found some stencils online, but where's the fun in that? I did silhouettes to again lessen the impact of using such bright colors, Same idea with the two white stripes.
This was a fun project I've tackled over the past two weeks. It is a custom order, as my customer wanted a much larger piece than I had previously done. I've typically done this piece from around 30-36 inches wide, but she wanted it at 5 feet, so 5 feet she got. The problem is, I think my wife likes it so much that she now wants one. It fits perfectly above a TV (as shown in the last picture), and the colors are muted enough to not distract from the TV.
I had also not done lettering on a piece before, so that bit was a challenge. I could have painted it on, but I didn't feel that fit with the piece, so the lettering was actually done with my router at about 1/4' deep. After a few practice attempts on some scrap wood, I got the lettering how I wanted it. It was finished with a french cleat to hang it due to its size and weight.
I would love to hear your comments below!
These are some pictures I sketched while I was living in China. We had some charity auctions that the department ran each month, so I contributed these pieces. Each was put into a nice frame, and were aggressively bid on. I was quite proud that so many people were interested in them. And we raised some money for local charities, so a great day for all!
I made this piece as a thank you to my in-laws. They let us stay at their place both before and after our moves.
My wife's great grandfather was part of an American agricultural outreach program to the USSR and their allies during the cold war. He toured 10 cities over a period of about 18 days. Each flag is a different city that he visited. The legend in the upper left-hand corner provides the cities and dates.
The legend was made with an old typewriter font I found online, and was printed on normal paper. I brewed some tea, painted the paper with the tea, and baked in the oven for about 10 minutes at 125 degrees. I inlayed that into the piece.
The actual piece is hung as two separate pieces, the split is along the old Iron Curtain. Everything on the right is the USSR and their allies, and the left is the Western allies.
The piece was made from yellow pine, and stained dark. I used my router to cut out the water and the legend inlay.